58 migrants die as boat capsizes off Mauritania coast

Updated: Dec 06, 2019, 09:17 IST | Agencies | Nouadhibou

Survivors said at least 150 people including women and children were on board vessel that left The Gambia

The injured have been transferred to a city hospital. Representation pic/istock (inset) Survivors of the mishap. Pic/AFP
The injured have been transferred to a city hospital. Representation pic/istock (inset) Survivors of the mishap. Pic/AFP

Nouadhibou: At least 58 migrants are confirmed dead after a vessel carrying them sank as it approached the coast of Mauritania on Thursday, according to the UN's migration agency.

Eighty-three others swam to shore and are receiving assistance from Mauritanian authorities, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the IOM said in a statement. Wednesday's sinking was the largest known loss of life along the West Africa smuggling route this year, and the sixth deadliest migrant drowning globally, according to the UN's IOM.

The survivors said that the vessel was running low on fuel when it approached the northwest African nation. They also said that at least 150 people including women and children were aboard the vessel which left The Gambia on November 27. "The Mauritanian authorities are very efficiently coordinating the response with the agencies currently present in Nouadhibou," said Laura Lungarotti, IOM Chief of Mission in Mauritania.

"Our common priority is to take care of all those who survived and bring them the support they need," she added. The injured have been transferred to a city hospital and the IOM has deployed a doctor to support the local response. Despite the country's small size, more than 35,000 Gambians arrived in Europe between 2014 and 2018, according to the UN migration agency.

Mauritania's interior ministry also said the vessel was carrying between 150 and 180 people, adding that most of the passengers were between the ages of 20 and 30. "The Mauritanian authorities are coordinating with the Gambian consular services to ensure that the necessary support is provided to the migrants," IOM further said.

35k
No. of Gambians who arrived in Europe between 2014 and 2018

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